Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn

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Published: January 1 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Website: Author’s Website

            Before Victor Frankenstein died, he had twin daughters. Ingrid is her father’s daughter, possessing a scientific mind. Giselle is frail with her cough, but is beautiful. They inherit Castle Frankenstein on a lonely little island and relocate with their new wealth. Ingrid becomes fascinated with her late father’s scientific research, and Giselle is a budding socialite looking for love. The peaceful life on the island is interrupted with several murders. Who is the murderer?
The premise of this book hooked me because I love Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. I cannot count how many times I have read it. The idea that he had two daughters who may take up his work is brilliant. I had hoped for a gothic tale involving castles, monsters, insanity, love, and science.

Unfortunately, that is where the brilliance ends. The beginning of the book is terribly slow. To fix this, there needs to be a hook at the very beginning. Perhaps start with an incident that is described later. Of course, no one is paying me to edit this, but there are many ways to easily fix the pacing. The beginning is boring and made me wonder if I really wanted to give my time to it.

Murder Mystery
            The murder mystery was disappointing. Without giving away who is behind them, it is terribly obvious. Perhaps the author shouldn’t have made that person act like a nutcase all the time. Or balance that person’s insanity with people of equal or insanity, or perhaps even worse. And when it is revealed who did’s over. That’s it. Well? What happened to them? What about all the people left behind? How do they feel about it? This short book could have been made longer with some exposition.   

In my opinion, it should be re-written for an older age group. You know, for teens who have read Frankenstein in high school. On my copy it says for ages 12 and up. A 12-year-old’s reading taste and a 16-year-old’s will differ immensely. If it is for young adults, write it for that age group. A 12-year-old is not a YA.

My biggest gripe is the writing. Nothing about the prose stands out. That’s probably because it was written for 12-year-olds, though I have read books for that audience that is written with artistry. There is nothing about this that makes it stand out in the sea of books already written. Pick an age group and deliver the best writing possible.    

The cover, the premise, and I thought it was cute to mention Percy and Mary Shelly.

Final Verdict 
            Great idea, mediocre execution. Because of the mediocre writing, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a teen book club pick. If a teen likes Frankenstein, I would recommend it on the basis of the premise alone.

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